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A documentary that follows the efforts of "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently," a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. With deeply personal access, this is the story of a brave group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.Written by
Fascinating, seat edge foray into lives on the edge
STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning
In March of 2012, the Arab Spring uprising occurred in the city of Raqqa, Syria, where Bashir Al Assad's tyrannical regime was overthrown, and the people made a grab for the independence and freedom that had been denied to them for so long. Unfortunately, it ended up creating a vacuum, that resulted in the Islamic State taking over and grinding the city to a halt, as they enforced their barbaric and savage 'caliphate.' Several men, however, calling themselves 'Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently', banded together and resolved to expose ISIS's savagery to the world, as a result enduring terrible sacrifice and placing their lives in danger.
While the rest of the world lives in a heightened sense of danger and alert over ISIS's next terror attack, it's still easy for life to carry on and go about their daily business. It's hard to picture a world where they are the total domineering force, a place which they have completely taken control of and imposed their savage, insane will on. And yet, if you were to ask any group of people to name the one place where this has happened, Raqqa would probably instantly spring to mind. Like Rwanda in the early 90s, it's the place everyone knows about, but we're all guilty of ignoring as long as we have our nice life.
Matthew Heineman, director of the equally enthralling 2015 drug-war drama Cartel Land, plunges us into this unimaginable world, with City of Ghosts, depicting the plight of a group of brave men living on the frontline of this devastating life, risking everything to highlight the atrocities of ISIS in their homeland. We are given unflinching access, as the terror group enact live executions in the streets, capture their friends and taunt them over the internet, including streaming the live murder of one of their fathers. These are educated men, from Raqqa's middle classes and trained journalists, who have to live life on the edge and constantly think on their feet, thinking one step ahead of their enemies.
Heineman has displayed a real talent for making these exposing, frontline dramas, of men and societies living on the edge, that keep you on the edge of your seat far more than any modern Hollywood dross ever could. ****
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